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Chungará (Arica)

On-line version ISSN 0717-7356

Abstract

MENDONCA DE SOUZA, Sheila M.F.; REINHARD, Karl J  and  LESSA, Andrea. CRANIAL DEFORMATION AS THE CAUSE OF DEATH FOR A CHILD FROM THE CHILLON RIVER VALLEY, PERU. Chungará (Arica) [online]. 2008, vol.40, n.1, pp.41-53. ISSN 0717-7356.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-73562008000100005.

Two small mummy bundles, found in a tomb at the Chillon River Valley, Lima Plains, Peru exist in the collections of the Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They were donated to the collections at the beginning of the 20th century. A multidisciplinary team is now curating and studying them. CT scans confirmed both skeletons were of individuals less than one year old at death. One of the bundles is intact and will be preserved and displayed. The other one was partly decomposed and the authors received permission to unwrap it to analyze the bones in details. Mites and pollen analysis were performed and the bones and artifacts were described. The cranium of a four to six month-old child, had a perforated necrotic occipital bone that possibly related to cause of death. Endosteal new bone reaction, a flattened area at the occipital squamae and a parietal sulcus associated with a zone of frontparietal resorption were also found. A pathognomonic periosteal reaction at the occipital and parietals, along the lambdoid suture, pointed to the compression of the skull that could explain the trauma, ischemic necrosis and subsequent infection. The cultural context suggests that the bundle could belong to a late Inca burial.

Keywords : Paleopathology; skull necrosis; skull deformation; prehistory; Chillon River; Peru.

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